The Unbearable Awesomeness Of Being

Monday, June 27, 2005

The Text Adventure Game

This is a game you can play on message boards or with friends. Any number of players is acceptable.

The first person to play states a problematic situation. For example:

* You are inside a ten foot pit with smooth walls. There is no way to climb up.

The next person describes a way to solve the problem, and a new problem that hinders that solution. Such as:

* You could make a ladder out of the branches that fell off a tree above the pit and are lying in the bottom of the pit, if only you had something to tie them together.

Each of these solution/problem combinations counts as one point to the person making them. In addition, the player that can use the scenario presented to solve one of the problems in a different way, he gains another point.

Example: Player 3 says:

* There is some rope tied to a loop in the ground here that could be used to tie the branches together, but it is tied too tightly to be removed.

Then player 4 can reply:

* If you had the rope, you could make a lasso and throw it at the tree above the pit and climb it.

gaining one point in the process.

Players take turns in order, first person to N points wins.

This was tested in a message board with no scoring and no turn taking. It's pretty fun anyway. If you decide to actually play this game, be sure to tell me how it went.

(edit: added link to message board game)

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

I Wrote A Story

The first three sentences came to me in a dream. I wrote the rest in a half-sleepy daze and then promptly refused to even look at the text again. Opinions presented in the text are not necessarily those of the author.

World Without End
by Guilherme T.

Things were different in the year 2300.

For instance, things Made Sense now. There wasn't much wondering about the purpose of life and the existence of the soul while the Angels Of The Lord were scourging the earth with fire and light.

Charlie Brown saw one of them close. The wings of glass, the halo of mirrors, the flaming sword. His own face.

The punishment came in no order any human could divine. Angels descended in one or hundred, burning people or cities. From the High Priest to the lowest prostitute, all ranks were decimated.

No man could discern the reasons the chosen for scourging were so. Religion or personal philosophy did not matter, nor whether one believed being damned or forgiven.

Some said they saw the reason for punishment on the mirrored halo, before the blade made the sentenced into ashes and dust. These observations are not controlled and shouldn't be taken into account by the scientific mind.

Charlie Brown wasn't burned. In the city of a hundred million, he saw the Angel, but he was not burned. He was alone. Cast aside.

The world was still outside, and sometimes its shouts came in. Come out, it shouted. No, give up, it replied. Discussing, reasoning, arguing, pleading.

Charlie Brown didn't care. He had seen the mirrored halo, why others were burned and he was left. He could not argue: The reasons made perfect sense, once you knew them.

The world's shouts now mostly agreed the Angels were sending the righteous to their just reward. The flames free the spirit, it said. We are being carried from this world to our just reward.

Angels were welcomed in cheers and song, even as the flaming swords turned the singers to the phlogiston.

Charlie Brown sat, and waited. Eventually others came, others who had seen their fate in the mirrored halo and knew the truth, or something that would pass for it on a brief inspection.

The world grew silent. The skies turned silver, and the sea became glass. Soon the Other Savior would come, and reign upon earth made heaven, just as his counterpart ruled heaven above earth.

After eternity passes, they would meet again.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Random Nation

You know, I was talking about randomly generated puzzles, and I didn't notice pretty much every computer with Windows has a couple of them in. Just open the tab 'Games' and check any of the solitaire games. Specially Freecell, which has no invisible component from the start: All the cards are open to see and consider the strategy.

What makes solitaire games capable of such randomizing? For one, there's a lot of leeway in what moves you can make (Freecell allows you to play any red card on any black card of a value one number higher, as well as four 'free cells' that can be used for storage of any card). The number of free cells could be changed to alter difficulty, even. Choose 500 games randomly, see how many can be solved with each number of free cells or card stacks.

So it appears that the easiest way to make random solvable puzzles is to either have a generator we know will make a solvable game, or have a variable that can be adjusted to make unsolvable games solvable. An automatic solver is also pretty helpful in that bit, so you can check for move count, alternate solutions and whatnot.

Now, what can I apply this stuff to.